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The first time a friend introduced me to potato latkes, a traditional dish at Hanukkah, I was hooked for life.   When middle-age spread began to threaten I had to come up with a low-fat recipe, and here it is.  Potatoes soak up oil like a sponge; the cooking spray coats the surface instead, allowing the latke to fry up crispy without soaking in loads of artery-clogging fat.

Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

3 large potatoes (about 1 & 1/2 to 2 pounds)
1 medium onion
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley, OR 1 tbsp dried parsley
1 egg   (Note #1)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
olive oil
cooking spray

Peel the potatoes.  Coarsely grate them (a food processor works fine).  Put into a thin dish towel or fine-meshed strainer and squeeze out all the water you can into a clean bowl.  Let the water stand to settle out the potato starch.

Finely chop the onion.  Add it to the potato in a large bowl.  Carefully pour off and discard the clear potato juice, adding the starch that has settled to the bottom back into the potato mixture.

Beat the egg, and adding to the potato together with the parsley, salt and black pepper.     (Note # 2)

Heat a teaspoon or so of oil in a large, heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.   Spread the oil around with a spatula.  When hot, make patties by hand out of the potato mixture, about the size of a hamburger patty.   Place each in the oiled skillet and immediately spray the tops with cooking spray.  Flatten each latke with a broad spatula until it is as thin as you can make it.  Cook until it starts to brown.  Lightly spray again and turn over.   When the second side is golden, you may spray and turn again to cook for another minute or two, if you wish them to be crisper.   

Serve hot, plain or with horseradish sauce, chili sauce or ketchup.   Enjoy!

Note #1  If watching cholesterol and fat, you may substitute 2 egg whites for 1 egg.  This affects the flavor just a little, but the texture is the same.

Note #2: Traditional latkes use matzo meal (a thin unleavened cracker, crushed fine).  Non-traditional ones can have crushed saltines or bread crumbs.  I sometimes have used dried potato flakes in a pinch.  Any of these absorb more oil, making it hard to fry them crisp without additional fat, and will make a thicker, softer latke.  If you wish to use them, add 1/3 cup of any one of the previous mentioned fillers plus another egg now.




The Sneaky Kitchen
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